SAINT MARY OF THE WOODS, Ind. – Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) announced updates in its plan for face-to-face instruction for Fall 2020 classes, including an altered fall schedule.
“We want our students and families to know that their health and safety as well as their academic, athletic and co-curricular experiences are at the forefront of our minds as we continue to plan for what the fall will look like at The Woods,” said Janet Clark, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and student life. “We are following ever emerging best practices for colleges and universities across the state and nation during the COVID-19 pandemic as we seek to reopen responsibly and with intentionality.”
In an email communication to the new and returning campus students this week, Clark outlined the following plans for in-person, face-to-face instruction:
• The residential experience will use protocols that carefully follow health and safety guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with new campus students moving in August 14 and the majority of returning students moving in on August 16. Student athletes, international students and resident assistants will have a separate move-in schedule. All move-in protocols will be designed to minimize interactions and provide proper social distancing measures.
• The fall academic calendar will be adjusted to minimize the likelihood of spreading the virus. In-person classes will begin for campus students on August 18 and will continue in-person through November 20, at which time campus students will move home. Following a week-long break for Thanksgiving, students will finish the last two weeks of the semester with remote finals. There will be no fall break.
• Classrooms are being evaluated with the safety of students and faculty in mind. The College will be utilizing several new spaces to provide proper social distancing standards, allowing for time in the schedule for cleaning in between classes.
• O’Shaughnessy, The Woods Café and The OSC dining hall options are being reengineered to meet safety standards and dietary needs. Students will dine differently as meals will be either served or carryout with new prepared on-the-go options.
• The College is recommending everyone wear face masks in public spaces and common areas as well as when it is difficult to maintain social distancing standards. Masks will be provided for all students, faculty and staff by the College. Usage of masks in classrooms will be determined by department.
• Student athletes in women’s and men’s soccer, women’s and men’s cross country and volleyball will move in August 10. All athletes will be required to follow strict health and safety precautions as set by the USCAA and NAIA, but what the fall schedule might look like has yet to be determined.
“Of course, even the most carefully laid out plans for fall have to be flexible,” said Clark. “While much is still unknown about COVID-19, we appreciate the understanding and patience of our students, faculty, staff and families as we continue to navigate through this new era of learning.”
Clark noted that the College is preparing contingency plans which could include a period of remote learning with little advanced notice.
“We realize plenty of unanswered questions remain, but please know our faculty and staff are focusing on finalizing the details for Fall 2020 to allow for a safe and healthy experience,” said Clark.
The SMWC website offers the latest guidance on the College’s response to COVID-19 and plans for reopening outlined in The Avenue to Reopening Plan